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Ear to the Ground

February 2, 2022

I often speak to incubators, who collaborate with entrepreneurs from the earliest stages, often from ideation. One of the things the people running incubators bring up is the value for entrepreneurs at an early stage of "picking up the phone" and getting in touch with people who can help them and validate or discard their hypotheses as early as possible. You don't need to have much finished to do it. On the contrary, it makes sense to try to validate an idea before investing too much time in it.

It becomes not only a thinking game but also an error-correction game. Not just guessing or hypothesizing what the market wants. One can only error-correct if there is information from the environment that gives feedback. Being disconnected from the real world is generally a bad thing.

I reach out to people now and then who know much more than I do about something related to an industry related to an investment. I'm usually surprised by the good hit rate. Not 100%, but definitely higher than 50%. I've been doing this all my life, as a student, intern and much else, and I've always been surprised about the good response rates. People are often surprised (it seems that it doesn't happen to them too often) and happy to chat, because people like feeling like experts. Tapping into that is usually a really good idea.